The sight of Japanese children has deteriorated sharply. What is the reason for this?

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The sight of Japanese children has deteriorated sharply. What is the reason for this?
The sight of Japanese children has deteriorated sharply. What is the reason for this?

According to the World Health Organization, about 2.2 billion people suffer from vision problems today. This mainly applies to people over 50 years old, but every year more and more young people face eye problems. In the case of children and adolescents, it is usually myopia, which is also referred to as myopia. With this visual defect, a person sees well near, and poorly in the distance. This is due to a change in the shape of the eye, due to which the rays of light are refracted incorrectly and the image is focused not on the retina, but in front of it. If complications arise, myopia can develop into complete blindness, which is its main danger. Scientists recently noticed that Japanese children began to see worse sharply, which in the future may have difficulties in terms of learning and a noticeable decrease in the quality of life. But why has myopia become so common among young people in Japan? Let's figure it out.

Visual impairment in children

A rather disturbing phenomenon was written in the scientific journal British Journal of Ophthalmology. A few years ago, a group of 1,084 Japanese children began regular ophthalmological examinations. In addition to assessing visual acuity, the researchers asked the children to complete a questionnaire. In it, children talked about their lifestyle, especially how much time they spend outdoors. Around the beginning of 2020, another 709 small volunteers joined this group of children. The authors of the scientific work monitored the state of their vision for 8 months.

No matter what age you are, it is important to have your vision checked at least once a year.

Previously, myopia was diagnosed in 13% of children every year. But today the detection rate of this problem has reached 19.5%. A particularly severe deterioration in vision was noticed around the middle of 2020, during a period of severe restrictions associated with the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. By September 2020, schools and universities were closed in 180 countries around the world, according to Eurekalert. About 80% of children from all over the world have switched to distance learning and this is most likely the reason for their visual impairment.

During a pandemic, people began to go out less often, and this phenomenon has unpleasant consequences.

In their questionnaires, the children indicated that they went outside much less often during the pandemic. If earlier they walked for an average of 1 hour and 15 minutes, then in our difficult times this figure dropped to 24 minutes a day. But spending time at home was not the main reason for the development of myopia. Judging by the answers in the questionnaires, children started using smartphones, tablets and computers for 7 hours a day. But before they sat at electronic displays for a maximum of 2.5 hours. Some parents have probably tried to reduce the amount of time spent on the screens of devices. But usually they recommend reading a book or drawing, which is also quite stressful for the eyes.

The importance of walking every day

But why have children from Japan been hit hardest by the restrictions during the pandemic? The study was conducted in densely populated Hong Kong, where many people are forced to live in small apartments. Small rooms in themselves can greatly strain the eyes, so city dwellers and especially children must be on the street as often as possible. But in a pandemic, of course, it is very difficult to follow this rule of a healthy lifestyle. Especially in a city as big and dense as Hong Kong.

Many restrictions in Hong Kong have already been lifted

The authors of the scientific work, just in case, emphasized that they had only conducted a survey study. It is also worth noting that their observations were based only on the words of children, who in their questionnaires could well lie about their lifestyle. This means that the results of the study should be treated with a high degree of skepticism. But personally, I think the results are not far from the truth, because the isolation during the pandemic has really badly affected people's health. But these were very forced measures, and if not for them, the situation in the world could have been much worse than it is now.

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